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N.K. may link suspension of nuke test to peace treaty talks: report

All News 15:59 June 01, 2016

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is likely to launch a charm offensive toward the United States by possibly calling on Washington to have talks over a peace treaty in exchange for the suspension of a nuclear test, a report showed Wednesday.

North Korea has called for talks over a peace treaty with the U.S. to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which was brought to a close with a truce. Washington has dismissed the North's demand, saying that denuclearization should be prioritized.

Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University, said in a report that North Korea seems to be refraining from making provocative acts after the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) held its rare congress in early May.

"North Korea's nuclear test and long-range rocket launch early this year seemed to be part of its moves to consolidate the status of what it claims is a nuclear state ahead of its party congress," Koh said.

The professor said that Pyongyang is likely to launch a peace offensive toward the U.S. by calling on Washington to end a joint annual exercise with Seoul or to have talks over a peace treaty in exchange for the suspension of a nuke test.

At the party congress, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called his country a "responsible nuclear state," vowing to "permanently" defend the pursuit of developing nuclear weapons in tandem with boosting the country's moribund economy, commonly known as the "byeongjin" policy.

China has proposed a "dual-track" approach with which peace treaty talks with North Korea proceed with denuclearization simultaneously.

He said that it may be realistic for the U.S. to begin talks with Pyongyang by setting an intermediate objective between the goal of denuclearization and the conclusion of a peace treaty.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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